RF police deny harassing torture victim

Eric Caine has had several run-ins with one officer

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By Timothy Inklebarger

After being tortured by Chicago police into confessing to a crime he didn't commit, Eric Caine spent 25 years in prison, but since his exoneration in 2011, he says his nightmare continues due to harassment by the River Forest police.

Caine, 47, said police have pulled him over repeatedly for traffic violations and once tried to search his home over a false domestic dispute call. He says one officer, Benjamin Laird, has targeted him for arrest, made racially charged comments and falsely accused him of assaulting a police officer. Laird arrested Caine twice last month — on July 15, for resisting a police officer and aggravated assault against Laird, and on July 30 for driving with a suspended license and an open container of alcohol. On the suspended license arrest, Caine was initially stopped for playing his stereo too loud.

James O'Shea, River Forest deputy chief of police, declined comment on the pending criminal cases against Caine, but he said in an email response to questions that River Forest police were not targeting him. He confirmed that Caine also was arrested by the Forest Park police in 2012 for driving under the influence and by Oak Park police in 2013 for driving with a suspended license.

Caine went public with his charges of harassment on Aug. 1 when David Protess, president of the nonprofit Chicago Innocence Project and a former Medill journalism professor who helped free Caine, wrote about the situation in a column for the Huffington Post. Caine also appeared on the television talk show Windy City Live on Aug. 6, telling host Val Warner, "[Laird] likes to harass me. Because I don't commit crimes and don't do anything, there's nothing for them to really get me on, so he'd get me on traffic stuff."

Caine was charged as an accessory to double murder in 1986, after he was tortured into confessing by detectives working under former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge, who is currently serving a four-and-a-half year sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice. Burge is accused of torturing hundreds of criminal suspects in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. In July, the Chicago City Council agreed to pay Caine $10 million to settle his police torture lawsuit against the city.

Caine said he first came in contact with River Forest police in the summer of 2012, when he was returning to his apartment on the 1500 block of Bonnie Brae. A squad car pulled up behind him as he turned into the alley. As he walked to his back door, a female officer pulled up and asked, "Do I know you?"

He said the officer asked if he was Eric Caine because she had seen him on TV. "Burge made us all look bad," she told Caine.

Caine said his trouble in River Forest began in early March, when he was returning home from court. As he turned down an alley to his apartment, he said he was boxed in by a black, unmarked police truck and a River Forest police squad car.

Laird emerged from the truck saying, "Eric Caine, you're under arrest for driving on a suspended license," according to Caine, who presented Laird with a restricted driving permit he received from the Illinois Secretary of State. Laird reviewed the permit and left without making an arrest, but Caine said the episode left him with flashbacks of his quarter-century behind bars.

"I was so shook up," he said. "After they left, all I did was sit in the car for about 20 minutes. I was crying. It was bad. It was real, real bad. I was so, so scared."

Caine said he felt targeted and threatened because Laird knew him by name before seeing his identification. During the encounter, he said, Laird asked him how much he paid for his car, a 2011 Cadillac CTS.

O'Shea responding via email to questions concerning the incident, saying that "Officer Laird was not present and did not stop Mr. Caine in March," but he did not elaborate.

About a week and a half later, Caine said he was returning to his home and had parked his car in the driveway when a police car pulled up behind him, lights flashing. Caine said he received a speeding ticket that day — from a different officer — but police records show he was cited for failure to signal and use of a lot to avoid a red light.

He said he now believes River Forest police monitor his home, waiting for him to leave or return, so they can pull him over.

"There was no police car with the lights on then when I turned into the alley," he said.

Police notes on the traffic stop data sheet reveal that Caine had received a restricted driving permit for DUI and that his vehicle was equipped with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device, which tests a driver's alcohol level before allowing the car the start.

Caine said he came in contact with Laird a second time on the night of March 25, when he appeared at Caine's apartment on a domestic disturbance call. The police report for the incident notes that a neighbor had complained of arguing coming from the apartment, but Caine said there was no dispute and that he and his girlfriend were entertaining guests that night.

"[Laird] said, 'I'm going to have to come in to see for myself anyway,'" Caine recalled, but his girlfriend assured Laird that no domestic violence had occurred. Satisfied with the explanation, Laird told them to keep the noise down and left.

Laird arrested Caine almost four months later, on the morning of July 15, when police questioned him and friend Marvin Reeves, 53, another exonerated Burge torture victim who spent 21 years in prison after being forced into confessing to murdering five people.

Reeves said in an interview that he and Caine were sleeping in Reeves' car in front of Caine's apartment at roughly 3 a.m., when Laird approached and questioned the two. Reeves was the designated driver that evening and said that when they returned to Caine's home, Caine had been drinking and was tired and needed to "rest up a few minutes" before going into the apartment.

Reeves, who was in the driver's seat, passed a field sobriety test and was released. Caine said he insisted on calling his lawyer but said Laird took his cellphone and put him in handcuffs.

After speaking with Reeves, Laird returned "and starts screaming and hollering, 'Sit down! Sit down!'" Caine said.

"I said, 'Officer, can I call my attorney? I want to call my attorney,'" Caine said. "So I wind up on the ground sitting down on my back. My weight had tightened the cuffs around my wrists, so it was hurting me."

Caine recalled, "If I didn't stop screaming and hollering [he said] he was going to arrest Marvin." Caine was later charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault of a police officer.

"They claim that I actually, literally swung at him and that's absolutely not true," Caine said. The police report states that Caine was "interfering with a DUI investigation and acted in a manner that gave Officer Laird a reasonable fear of receiving a battery."

At an Aug. 2 hearing, Caine's attorney, Brian Barrido, requested police audio and video recordings of the arrest, but was told by police that the Laird's dashboard video camera was not on during the incident. Deputy Police Chief O'Shea declined to comment on the pending case but said the officer "was within compliance of state law and department policy regarding [the] camera."

"Mr. Caine has provided his version to the media," O'Shea added.

Barrido said he also subpoenaed audio from the station the night Caine was arrested. Caine claims Laird taunted him, asking, "Why aren't you driving your pretty car?" and, "Why can't you act like normal blacks?"

Barrido also has requested video of Caine's arrest on July 30. Laird pulled Caine over on the 700 block of North Harlem for playing his stereo too loud. He was arrested and charged with noise violation, driving with a suspended license and carrying an open container of alcohol.

Caine declined to comment about the July 30 arrest, saying only that he is contesting the charge.

He said he plans to leave River Forest as soon as possible and move back to Oak Park, where he said he feels safe from police.

O'Shea has said publicly that Caine has never filed a complaint against the River Forest police.

Asked why he felt he was being targeted by police, Caine said he could only speculate, "but I have a strong belief that it's a combination of solidarity with law enforcement as well as … the state's need to purge the suburbs of who they consider undesirable."

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Posted: January 7th, 2014 4:15 PM

Riverside resident Eric Caine, who won a $10 million settlement from the City of Chicago and was exonerated for wrongful imprisonment, was arrested Dec. 31 for DUI in North Riverside. On New Year's Eve of 2013, it took a turn for the worse. The new Riverside resident is back behind bars, held without bond at Cook County Jail and charged with felony drunken driving for allegedly sideswiping two vehicles on Desplaines Avenue near 31st Street in North Riverside. Caine was reportedly the silent p

first friend from chicago  

Posted: September 3rd, 2013 1:11 AM

see the devil jobs is to destroy, you know the road you have been down, and that may make you a target to law enforcement forever. but remember you are a man before you are anything and don't never stop speaking up for what you believe.

Out of Town Cop  

Posted: August 18th, 2013 3:45 PM

@ paleeze, you assumed wrong...I wrote what I intended to say. Never heard the phrase? Google it. People like you are the reason good officers are wrongfully prosecuted. We don't like bad officers either and we love when they get busted though its another black eye for us. Everyone knows there are crooked cops. There are crooked people in every field where humans exist. The thing is people like you believe these regular joe schmos who file multimillion dollar suits have no reason to embellish.

Forrest Gump from Greenbow, Alabama  

Posted: August 18th, 2013 2:18 PM

11/29/2012 / DUI. 02/28/2013 / Driving with a suspended license. 07/25/2013 / Criminal Misdemeanor. 08/01/2013 / Driving with a suspended license. 08/08/2013 Criminal Felony. STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES ...

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 18th, 2013 12:26 PM

Get the hint now? Anyone can post anything. Being a person of rainbow color, I find it fascinating how easily people will believe what they read. While the Editor is sitting back, not fact checking and selling papers.

Matt on Madison  

Posted: August 18th, 2013 12:18 PM

Will the real Matt on Madison please stand up. Ok you counter-racist white people haters. GROW UP. This is just an article trying to sell papers. Half fiction half truth. Believe it or not Mr. Caine is still committing crimes. He was before he was incarcerated and he is now. We need the cops to do their job, and Caine is just making it easier on them, by driving when he shouldn't. Come on people, Really? Oh Reality Check, you are simply wrong.

me from somewhere  

Posted: August 18th, 2013 8:01 AM

@sober what makes you think he was sober for 25 years?????????????????

Ravonne Courts from Lynwood  

Posted: August 17th, 2013 10:54 PM

This world is so twisted, Mr. Caine don't waste your time,just live,love,and enjoy life to the fullest. Mr. Caine just find you another place to move don't go to Oak Park they don't need your kind meaning.they need superficial people in their neighborhood and you're just too darn real.

Ravonne Courts from Lynwood  

Posted: August 17th, 2013 10:45 PM

It's amazing how when this man was first release from prison, everyone had so much love for him,now that he's not the topic at everyone's dinner table,now he's a menace of society. I can't believe it's Oak Park thats speaking against him. Everyone that drinks has operated a car before.we just didn't get caught,so I say stop with the shenanigans and the judgmental bull, if that's taking place in River Forest shame on you. Mr. Caine if I was you I wouldn't give Oak Park any of my blessings.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: August 17th, 2013 10:10 PM

Caine is not welcome in Oak Park. I have multiple connections with the OPPD, and I can guarantee after talking with them that Caine won't last over a month in Oak Park.

Jim from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2013 11:48 AM

@Reality Check. You don't speak for all of Oak Park; neither do I. But I don't want him on my block. Children of several races ride bikes and play here. If wanting safety and quiet make me a racist, so be it. What I'm hearing is that Eric is a druggie or alcoholic. Arrests by three police departments! With his money, there many rehab programs. Or he could try AA; 312-346-1475. He's no blameless victim. He still makes poor decisions and thinks like a drunk, blaming others for his problems.


Posted: August 16th, 2013 11:04 PM

@OutOfTowmCop, I certainly hope that a cop would be held criminally liable for an "earnest mistake". I assume you meant to write "honest mistake". I'd like you to provide one example of a prosecutor who went after a cop for an honest mistake, or I'll have to assume that you're just an earnest liar like every other cop.


Posted: August 16th, 2013 5:06 PM

Poor Hugh. We hardly knew ya.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 3:38 PM

Someone posted under my name last night, I see.


Posted: August 16th, 2013 3:02 PM

An inconvenient fact for Mr. Caine is that the car he was driving in February, when he was arrested for DWLS at 5:30 a.m. IN OAK PARK was one make and model. The car he was in as a passenger during the July 15 incident at 3 a.m. was another make and model. And the car he was driving in the July 30 incident at 1:40 a.m. was yet another different make and model. I'd think that would makes it really difficult to target anyone by the car he was in.

Out of Town Cop  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 1:23 PM

Oak Park has a respected PD. Realize this: the patrol method of your pd is influenced by the board you elect. The officers, who generally catch the blame, are following the chief's directives, which are oftentimes courtesy of the village manager or the board.

Out of Town Cop  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 1:17 PM

Jim Coughlin, cameras and their accessories are cumbersome and another thing to remember on an already long list. The number one thing the camera catches is the nasty disposition of the citizens. One reason complaints are down is because less are being accepted when they review the tapes and can't find any fault with an officer. OP has a ridealong program. People need to use these tools and see for self how nasty and disgusting people are to police. There is more of that on tape than brutality.


Posted: August 16th, 2013 1:14 PM

This really is terrible reporting. Letting this gentleman vent with just allegations and no facts is irresponsible journalism. But if he moves to Oak Park he'll be fine what with the "Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil" method of patrol by the OPPD!

Out of Town Cop  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 1:03 PM

and its suspected that RFPD pulled him over & KNEW he had an open alcohol container or a history of drinking and driving. Part of the "problem" you refer to, as police officers already know, is that we can be held civilly and/or criminally liable for earnest mistakes. Trying to give someone a break has cost cops their jobs before. The man is known to drink and drive. If he commits ANY traffic violation in front of you and you don't stop him.. YOU ARE LIABLE! You can always warn him if its minor.

OP Transplant  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 12:58 PM

Reality Check - I'm not white, so I'm not resting on "white privilege." And my own people have had our share of poor treatment by the law enforcement community. And I have absolutely no doubt that Mr. Caine was horribly abused by the CPD. But, even with that being said, if he has a history of DUI, I hope the police pull him over every time they see him driving late at night. They should treat him courteously, but they should pull him over.

Out of Town Cop  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 12:58 PM

@ Scared of Cops 2: Imagine a citizen comment at a RF board meeting or a call to the village manager that a resident known to drive under the influence has been observed by police making minor traffic violations and letting him go. No police don't find people guilty/ not guilty but yes it is their job to address when they observe violations of Illinois statutes and local laws. I'll say again, those officers would be civilly liable for not taking action against him if he hurt someone...

Reality Check  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 12:45 PM

@Matt, the standard response from oakpark.com will be to sign in with your facebook profile, which of course is no solution for those of us who wish to participate in public discourse without being targeted by the racist gun nuts who populate these forums. Of course, you can always create a fake facebook account....

Reality Check  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 12:33 PM

Again, it's completely amazing that all these people sitting on top of their white privilege continue to believe everything cops say regardless of all the evidence to the contrary that is repeatedly smacking them in the racist faces. Unbelievably deluded. Eric is welcome in OP. You racists are not.


Posted: August 16th, 2013 12:03 PM

How do all the Conceal and Carry advocates feel about Mr Cain carrying a weapon?

Jim from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 11:03 AM

More kudos to the River Forest PD, which did not rise to the bait dangled in this biased story; they just gave simple factual answers. The writer, though, gobbled up Caine's "race" and "victim" hooks. The "victim" hook really gets me. Because of Chicago PD sins, does Caine think he should be able to drive in our community with an open bottle in his vehicle? Or try to "rest up" in a car at 3 a.m.? Most worrisome to me is that he wants to move back to Oak Park.


Posted: August 16th, 2013 9:50 AM

Profiling Drink Drivers? Genius. Harassing them BEFORE they step behind the wheel- PRICELESS!!!

The Brad from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 9:12 AM

"...tragedies like Trayvon Martin." LOL. All credibility lost after the first sentence of your post. Amateur hour.

Matt on Madison  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 9:05 AM

The last post was not by myself who have posted all the other Matt on Madison posts. I wish this paper would use passwords and user names so idiots cant post under names that have been taken. For the record i agree with my brothers post.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 11:25 PM

Interesting report in today's Trib. Police departments across the country are equipping officers with cameras. A small unit can be attached to the uniform and provide video evidence of interactions between law enforcement and civilians. Early reports are encouraging with one community reporting a decline in complaints.

In OP  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 9:58 PM

This inability to see & acknowledge racist harassment & profiling breeds tragedies like Trayvon Martin. Law abiding commentators who have been harassed by RF police show this is a systemic problem. White privilege, ignorance, and subconscious racism=willingness to side with the police (and against a black suspect) when facts are ambiguous as is clearly the case here. This inability to be self-aware & self-reflective keeps racism alive and well in this so-called educated and liberal community.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 9:21 PM

Kudos to the River Forest police. Keep up the good work. Keep scum (anyone who drinks and drives is scum) off our streets. Bravo.

Just wow  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 8:12 PM

1) Let's all stop babbling for a minute and reflect on having 25 years of your young adult life taken away from you. It is beyond terrible that this has happened to so many men. 2) Please don't drink and drive. Nuf said


Posted: August 15th, 2013 7:59 PM

"Please get the man help. So River Forest leaves him alone." So, Al Harris from Berwyn, when do you want law enforcement him "left alone"? After he slams into some genuinely innocent person or persons while drinking and speeding along Harlem Avenue at 2 a.m., on a suspended license? Does one tragedy justify allowing a second tragedy in your mind?

MATT on Madison  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 7:32 PM

You sir Mr. Harris or whoever you are, are the crazy one. I am offended.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 7:31 PM

@Al Harris. Wow, party much?

Al Harris from Berwyn  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 7:27 PM

Sorry I was off medicine. The late great Rodney King said it most succintly. Can't..I mean ca't we all get along? If we didn't learn anthing from the LA riots we should have learned tolerance. Please get the man help. So River Forest leaves him alone,

Al Harris from Berwyn  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 7:23 PM

How double dare you compare your minor encounters with the good officers of River Forest, to Mr.Caines 25 years in prison? Who do you think you are. You all should be ashamed. This man needs help and all you do is make spout race based hatred? Who is really the victim here? Not the officers, certainly not Mr. Caine who can;t keep his hands off the wheel. It is the readers of this rag. I am the victim! The advertisers are the victims. The children are the victims. SHAME ON YOU MATT. You Hater.

Al Harris from Berwyn  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 7:17 PM

I was sitting back enjoying the sideshow and then I read OP's ordeal back in the 80's and Violet Aura's ordeal as a woman of color who had her bike stolen and the officer asked offensive questions. Then there was Mr. Hughes unpleasant ordeal when an officer accousted him. Now I know why I live in Berwyn, because you people are crazy. Sorry I didn't mean to be offensive by saying YOU people. But hot damn you people are nuts. Whoops, I mean poor deluded no one understands the plight nuts.

Matt on Madison  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 3:41 PM

Guys there not saying his dashboard camera was broken there saying he intentionally did not have it on.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 2:44 PM

Sounds like Mr. Caine is being targeted because RF police know he has a tendenancy to drive drunk and behave in a disorderly fashion. What happened to him is a tragedy, but is not an excuse for low rent anti-social behavior, especially in a bedroom community like River Forest. Mr. Caine would do well to receive some type of counseling to help acclimate himself to his new found wealth and the expectations the community has of its residents.

OP Transplant  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 1:47 PM

As a former officer, I can tell you that if I saw someone I knew to have a history of DUI driving late at night, I'd stop him every time. Good police work is preventative. This is completely independent of Mr. Caine's previous misfortunes. Drunk drivers kill people.


Posted: August 15th, 2013 1:47 PM

Simple solution. Stop drinking and driving and stop making a raucous after 8pm and Mr Caine will be fine.

Scared of Cops 2  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 12:47 PM

Dear OOTC, not totally sure, but I don't think it's actually the job of police to find people guilty, easily or uneasily. Maybe that's part of the problem? It sounds like he has a drinking problem and a fair amount of PTSD which is wholly understandable considering his experience. From what I read, the exonerated do not get any transitional counseling or help that parolees do, but are just pushed out the door with an "oops, sorry". I hope he gets the help he needs.

Out of town cop  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 12:08 PM

FYI: if everytime you get pulled over you are easily found guilty of MORE offenses, you will frequently get pulled over. That's called policing. Now if this guy was not "harassed" and let go with the open alcohol container and struck a good RF resident and they knew RFPD stopped him that night and let him go...they'd hang that cop out to dry and demand his job. Saying I'm being harassed and I'm not guilty is different and he has not disputed MOST of the charges ie they were legit contacts.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 12:06 PM

*Note: the male cop was NOT from RF, LOL. Just to be clear...

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 12:05 PM

I am not a cop-basher. I feel that their job is very difficult. However, I do not doubt that some cops may be prejudiced or don't want people of color moving into a predominantly White area. It is what it is...I dealt with a male cop who seemed quite sexist in his condescending tone towards me. Even so, I do believe that respect is always due to law enforcement. I just think that this Black guy is probably right-on in his harassment charge. Cops stick together and I bet they were pissed at him.

Not so clear  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 12:02 PM

A couple thoughts from a black cop from another town. @ Matt on Madison, I've had my camera stop recording video as recent as days ago. Until repaired..no video. @ Reality Check, it could be harassment but it's not clear. What is described is multiple interactions with police where he disputes the validity of all the contacts which means he is likely to be non cooperative when stopped. That never helps. @ Roger from OP, RF is only 9000 ppl! People will have multiple stops with the police.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 12:00 PM

FYI: I was wondering if the female cop knew the perps' family or whatever. I found it odd that she was so concerned about charges being pressed and began questioning me extensively about where I got the bike, the serial number, etc. As if trying to trip me up or suspecting that I did not own the bike. Very insulting.


Posted: August 15th, 2013 11:24 AM

Violet Aura, if you think a small, overworked police force contending with the daily challenge of serious felony crime has either the time or interest in targeting you over a stolen bike report, you're just plain delusional.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 9:27 AM

Cont. on these college boys. I decided not to do so, but I found out their names. One of them had a picture of a mangled bike as his profile pic, so it proves that this was not as innocent a prank as they claimed but I let it go. I have found it odd that the cops have been where I am in various parts of town. I don't like to get paranoid but I felt watched. These comments are probably from cops and their family members. Why do we think they are legit?

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 9:25 AM

I support this man. I moved into RF a few years ago as a woman of color and had my bike stolen within several weeks of living here. I went into the station to report my loss and the young, White female cop told me that a witness had seen the theft in progress and written down the license plate. The cop proceeded to ask me where I had been prior to locking my bike that night, where I had purchased my bike, etc. She was treating ME as the perp! And then she begged me not to press charges...

Matt on Madison  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 8:46 AM

Exactly he turned off his camera, River Forest Police should be ashamed of themselves. No offense if your sleeping in your car in front of your place and the guy driving passes a field sobriety test whats the crime??

RF Resident from River Forest  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 7:59 AM

A lot of unsupported allegations on both sides. But one uncontested fact is that Laird turned off his dash camera when dealing with Caine. Why would he do that? He's dealing a guy he knows is complaining about him. Wouldn't he to record his professional and legit behavior...unless perhaps he wasn't being so professional and legit. And O'Shea's best answer is that it's not illegal for him to turn off the camera? Sorry, but I expect better from the RF Police than "it's legal."

Read What OP Has Written   

Posted: August 15th, 2013 7:47 AM

OP speaks some balanced truth from personal experience, as have a couple of others who have commented here. I encourage OP to explore writing a column for The Journal or to find another method (a blog? - though that readership can be too self-selective) to educate the OP-RF community. Thanks, OP, for being thoughtful and for sharing your experiences.

OPRF Achievement  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 6:23 AM

This is a Non Story. Wednesday Journal and Dan want to show that they are HOT on the trail of racism. Come on -- stop it already. The police are out to do there job. If you are a police office, and people are out in the town you work drinking and making loud noise at 3 am, what do you think. Lets see, the right thing to do is move to a town that you can do these things that you think are right -- and they will not do anything. But do not cause a scene and plead for mercy.


Posted: August 15th, 2013 5:24 AM

We can expect to see more of what I think is backlash/fear amoung white communities which manifest in over policing or us vs. them. the reality is america is browning and as white becme minority there is fear and well as resentment - fear as people want to hold on to what they have/uncertain and resentment that thngs cant be the way they have been - this means expect police /other things serving communities to tighten/toughen.


Posted: August 15th, 2013 5:17 AM

As I mentioned,as an OP teenager in the 80's I was harrassed by police near 7/11. Filed a complaint and two weeks later, 4 back windows of my house were broken. There is likely some part of truth to both sides - he was likely making himself a target and they are likely watching him. Make no mistake, the botherhood for police is strong but AGAIN, get out of RF. Go somewhere where you dont stick out like ore thumb... and get your life together..

Oakparker from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 1:00 AM

After reading the article and the comments it seems like mediation is in order by all sides. However, I wonder if David Protess would be so supportive if Eric Caine hit him or members of his family while drinking and driving. Same with loud music. Would David Protess tolerate it if it impacted his home space and sleeping? I had a neighbor (who no longer does it) play his car boom box so loud I could hear it when all the doors and windows were closed and the TV was on. Not a pleasant experience.


Posted: August 15th, 2013 12:55 AM

"Reality check"? What reality are you checking? "It must be nice to be so damn delusional that you always believe the cops regardless of the evidence."..... Please, tell us all, "Reality check," just what evidence has been entered here? I see lots of opinions, definitely. But no real evidence. Either supporting the cops OR supporting Caines. Just a lot of opinions. And we know what "they say" about those.

Reality Check  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 12:43 AM

It's nice how all the delusional privileged whites on here assume that the cops are telling the truth regarding a man who was tortured by cops (who were protected by the states attorney) into a confession that put him behind bars for 25 years. It must be nice to be so damn delusional that you always believe the cops regardless of the evidence.


Posted: August 14th, 2013 11:38 PM

Might it be the officers beat? And no one's driving drunk here with that breathalyser unit that tests u starting your donkey whip, and again 15 min later while driving unless your sober passenger is blowing for you. As far as cops sticking up for a dirty cop that brought only embarrassment...Thank god every encounter is recorded, oh wait! While the man has every right to live wherever he wants, his lifestyle does not fit what the community has built, whether one is African or European American.

Kay from Oak Park  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 10:27 PM

I agree with Charlotte, please don't move to OP if you drink and drive. Don't care if your blue, black, green or white, no one should be driving drunk or with a suspended license. It's too bad that you were wrongly accused for a crime you didn't commit, but that doesnt give you a free pass to live above the law.

Darryl Hughes from River Forest, IL  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 9:08 PM

I'm a resident of River Forest and one night last year I was walking home from the El and I was stopped by River Forest police. They stated that someone called that a black man with a brief case was going door to door ringing door bells. When I mention that I was a homeowner in River Forest they didn't believe me. The one officer attempted to grab me for no reason, I asked why is he grabbing me. When they ran my name they found out that I was a resident. Why do black men have to deal with this?


Posted: August 14th, 2013 8:55 PM

DO NOT think that RF is completely unbiased. Better:? yes but recall that the people are smushed between Mayood, Chicago and likely have angst. As a black teenager from OP I NEVER forget being harrassed one time in RF (late 80's). That said, what made him think that RF was a good place to live as a black felon. He needs to disappear - Rogers Park, Hyde Park, Evanston, Oak Park - where he wont stick out ... move would be the best advise given

Roger from OP  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 8:09 PM

Best comment:...It's clear none of the preceding commentators have actually bothered to read the article. This is targeted harassment, clear and simple, and of a man who was tortured and spent 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. You should all be ashamed, but I doubt you have the ability to experience shame. .....repeated stops by the same officer????

SH from Oak Park   

Posted: August 14th, 2013 7:35 PM

It's amazing how quickly people can take a harsh stance on this. How tough it must be to adjust after 25 years in prison, he is struggling. However, racism is alive and well in River Forest. I have heard too many first hand stories, and do not doubt that profiling is occurring. I play my music in my car pretty loud and have never been stopped, but I am not black. I think improvement can be made on both sides.

Charlotte from Oak Park  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 6:55 PM

Please Mr. Caine, do not come to Oak Park. We do not need you here to cause problems like you are doing in River Forest. Officer Laird is doing his job. If your stereo is too loud, if you're driving on a suspended license, if you are drinking and driving, then how is Officer Laird harassing you? Pulling the race card never gets tiring, huh? Caine is an idiot and completely disregards the law. Uses a lot to avoid a red light. Happens all the time in Maywood. Perhaps you'd feel more at home there

Jim Mariner from River Forest  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 6:47 PM

Thank You River Forest Police Department for serving and protecting our village.

RF Achievement  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 6:18 PM

Alice do you really think Caine is being harassed? Is that because he says so? Has that been your experience in RF? Could it be a coincidence that he lives in RF and is out late at night and drawing attention to himself. Do you want the police to ignore him? Not respond to calls of loud parties becuase he is Eric Caine? Do you want RF to not stop him, knowing he is not allowed to drive and has a history of substance abuse? Does Eric Caine telling his side make it true?

Alice from Oak Park  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 6:08 PM

I think Caine is being harassed. The RF police should have more important things to do.

Jon D.   

Posted: August 14th, 2013 5:58 PM

the police are out to get him. He is a convicted felon who Mr. Protess is using, yes he is using, to try to make his adversary embarassed. He doesn't appear very bright on televison and can;t stop getitng caught being drunk. Draw your own conclusion.

Jon D  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 5:54 PM

This is as irresponsible reporting as all the other news outlets Eric Caine seems like he is trying to get public sympathy. Was it ever proven that he didn't commit the crime he spent time for, or was he released because he was coherced into a confession by a corrupt cop? Now he is going back to his old ways and happened to chose River Forest to live in. There are over 100 municpalities in the County but he moved into a town where the States Attorney lives and makes the leap cont.

Rob from Oak Park  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 5:51 PM

White people drive away tipsy from the River Forest Tennis Club all the time and they get a pass. Black people driving through River Forest at all are much more likely to get stopped than whites. The department is ridiculously, overtly, unapologetically racist and they need to be called on it. I need a drink just hearing about torture and abuse such as this. If I were a Burge victim you bet I'd drink. A lot. RF is a ridiculous place.

Conflict Resolution  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 5:50 PM

Everybody take a deep breath. The late Dennis Williams of the Ford Heights Four lived in Oak Park. People loved him and were good to him. The sensitivity training OP Police have serves us all well. Whatever the problem, everyone sit down together, Dave Protess, Police Chiefs, advocates, and work this out. Did Mr. Caine develop a substance abuse problem since he got out as the comments imply? Was Officer Laird too aggressive? Clear this up and help Eric Caine and our policeman have good lives.


Posted: August 14th, 2013 5:50 PM

i am not soft on crime at all. if he really was innocent and wrongly convicted he may need help getting his life back. if he is violent and dangerous and belonged in jail that is another story. But he needs a fair decision. at this point i dont see the facts in these comments. Or the truth.


Posted: August 14th, 2013 5:17 PM

"O'Shea has said publicly that Caine has never filed a complaint against the River Forest police."


Posted: August 14th, 2013 4:56 PM

If the guy was a known junkie id have some sympathy, BUT HE WAS SOBER FOR 25YRS. He gets out of prison and I'm supposed to feel sympathy for a guy who cant stop himself from drinking and driving?? What am I missing?

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 3:00 PM

@Dan Heifer: Say hi to the RF fuzz for me, 'mkay? :/

Red Aura from River Forest  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:48 PM

@Matt, looks bad for Caine when he can't get his story (history) correct. Don't add your opinion, look at the facts. Caine is harassing Laird. Caine is embellishing, Caine has been arrested by two other towns, one for DUI. Again Caine was passed out in a car late at night. Laird did not stop Caine in March. Laird did not randomly knock on Caines door someone called in the disturbance. Caine was not arrested in March. Caine was not arrested for the domestic call.

Matt on Madison  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:17 PM

Wow, this is not good for the RFPD, It sounds like racial profiling and more when you know the persons name before you try to give him a ticket. Funny how a little press in this case will help deflate the situation. Glad I don't live in R.F.

Dan Hefner from Oak Park  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:16 PM

Keep up the good work Officer Laird. Caine's claim is laughable given his history. The Police are there to Serve and Protect and the is no doubt they were doing their job with this joker.

Disturbed from Oak park  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 2:02 PM

@reality. I'm reading that Off.Laird was not present at the stop in March. He was responding to a call of domestic disturbance. Caine was passed out in a car late at night. Then arrested for driving with a suspended license with open alcohol. Am I missing something? What makes Caine story more credible? I feel bad for Caine losing 25 years of his life but not for his current bad behavior. @Judy, God bless the innocent who could be killed by drunk driving.

Judy Clinton from Bradenton  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:32 PM

I know Eric and he is a decent man who is trying to get his life back. The 25 years he wrongly spent in prison, no amount of money can replace. In Illinois, I grew up there, there is still so much racism. It is evident to me that the police are targeting him and trying to make him suffer. He doesn't deserve this and you just imagine being in prison for 25 years then going out into a new world and having to learn to adjust. God bless him keep him safe from this harassment.

Reality Check  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 1:05 PM

It's clear none of the preceding commentators have actually bothered to read the article. This is targeted harassment, clear and simple, and of a man who was tortured and spent 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. You should all be ashamed, but I doubt you have the ability to experience shame.

Disturbed from Oak Park  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 10:07 AM

Mr. Caine's driving record and drinking habits, appear to be the reason he has been arrested. If this article is accurate it seems Off. Laird was doing his job. I hope Mr. Caine is willing to share his new found wealth with Off. Laird. Also add Mr.Protess to the list. He has been discredited in the past. Thank you Off. Laird, for hopefully saving someone's life, by arresting Mr. Caine for driving if he likes to drink so much.

Angels in the Architecture  

Posted: August 14th, 2013 7:51 AM

Seems to me if one wants to avoid the cops one isn't sleeping in one's car at 3 AM.


Posted: August 14th, 2013 5:41 AM

I walked away from this story thinking that this man should not be driving a car. Repeated DUIs and traffic violations coupled with the drinking describes? Take his license away. Also sounds like Laird has a good liable suit.

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